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400kV line feasibility study on course

400kV line feasibility study on course

 

The Consulting Engineer, Fichtner, is in the process of finalizing the feasibility study report for the proposed 400kV line from Phombeya in Balaka District to Nkhoma in Lilongwe District.  This is one of the key project deliverables under the Infrastructure Development Project (IDP) which seeks to rehabilitate, upgrade and modernize the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi’s (ESCOM) assets in most urgent need of repair.

MCA-Malawi & Consulting engineer

To ensure the Project is transparent and participatory, key stakeholders met in Blantyre from 24th – 27th March 2014 to review the feasibility study report.  Officials from the Environmental Affairs Department, the ministries of Gender and Economic Planning and Development, ESCOM, MCC, MCA-Malawi, the MCC Independent Engineer and the Consulting Engineer participated in the two day review workshop.

“This is good; the project has ensured that all key government stakeholders participate in the review process.  This is an open and transparent process which is so inclusive of all views and it is my hope that this will continue.   We don’t want to read these in the newspapers but work together to ensure environmental and social issues are addressed before construction begins,” Juwo Sibale, Principal Environmental Officer, Department of Environmental Affairs Department.

The 400kV feasibility study included a reconnaissance survey, field investigations, data collection and review of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and public consultations to assess the baseline situation in the proposed corridor of impact. These key elements are the basis for identification of environmental and social impacts and their enhancement or mitigation measures.

MCC & MCA-staff

  “The project is cognizant of the fact that livelihoods will be affected by the project.  This however, should not be a cause of concern because MCA-Malawi and its project partner, ESCOM will ensure that all persons affected by the project are well compensated.  We will ensure that we carry out public consultations and disclosures so that those living in the corridor of impact understand the procedures and their lives will not be unduly disturbed,” the MCA-Malawi Environmental and Social Performance Director, Peter Makwinja sited.

The Resettlement Screening Report prepared by the Consulting Engineer on the 400kV line indicates that between 2500 and 2700 people will be affected by the project.  The Compact will put in measures to compensate people to be affected by the project.  The Project will thus adhere to the 2010 Malawi Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Guidelines and the international environmental and social impact assessment policies to ensure all people affected by the project are compensated and their livelihood restored before commencement of construction work.  

During the review of the feasibility study report, stakeholders agreed on the route for the proposed line.  The line which will be 173kms long will pass through the four districts of Balaka, Ntcheu, Dedza and Lilongwe.